President's Message

 Dear Members and Friends,

Last week we had our first Zoom meeting back this year and tomorrow we have our first meeting back in person with a guest speaker.

Yesterday I was thinking it had been a quiet Rotary week for me and so not much to write about but it seems like the usual pile of things has gone on again so here goes.

Firstly. following up on our Australia Day involvement I can say that I have had some contact back from each of the 3 organizations we gave $2,000.00 to all confirming that they did have some event/activity to use the money provided.

Louise Augustinus from Ozanam House has just sent an email thanking us as follows:

Dear Neville and North Melbourne Rotary Club,

Thank you very much for the donation to provide a BBQ at Ozanam House. As I mentioned to you in our conversations we do not celebrate Australia Day at our services as we have a Reconciliation Action Plan in place that guides us in our practice.

We held a BBQ at Ozanam House on Friday 22 January 2021. I have attached our poster and some images of our catering team on the day as we don’t distribute images of clients due to privacy.

The Catering Team cooked a delicious BBQ lunch for over 85 clients. They served bbq sausages,  burgers, onion, and made potato, pasta, and green salad. As it was a hot day, as you can see from the photos we served cans of soft drink and bottles of water. After lunch, we provided ice creams to our residents. The clients enjoyed the BBQ lunch which we announced was supported by our local North Melbourne Rotary and the support of the Australia Day Council.

For our drop-in clients that attend our external café (as our drop in is currently closed due to COVID), we provided soft drinks, fruit, and bottles of water with the donation and supported 60 clients accessing our lunch service.

With the left over donation, we are proposing to purchase an umbrella or sail shade to cover our BBQ area and provide shade for our clients as they enjoy a BBQ. Please let us know if you endorse the idea.

Please let me know if you need any further information about our event or if you need anything else from us.

Thank you for reaching out to us and supporting us in our work.



Louise Augustinus


Senior Worker Volunteers & Participation


Ozanam House


Sr. Jeanne from Joseph’s Corner has sent me a receipt for the money and the following note:

Thank you so much for your donation which we received with gratitude. Please find attached a receipt for this generous donation. We had a wonderful morning tea with our volunteers to show our application for

the wonderful work they do for Joseph's Corner. It was decided as a group that given the upturn of people needing our counselling and welfare help, the excess funds will be used to provide this care to our fellow Australians who are in great need at this time.

We have uploaded to the website with the photos and marketing material we used on the day. I will also enclose some of that material from that day.

Again with gratitude.

Sister Jeanne Dwyer

Joseph's Corner

Lastly, Zelda Van Lar from St.Mary’s House of Welcome sent this email:

Dear Neville,

Hope you are well. I just got the photos together for you (see attachments), we have also posted the receipt with a certificate of appreciation, which are in the mail (also added in the attachment).

Please let me start with thanking you again for your very generous donation. The day was a huge success and we have been able to hand out all the hampers we made up with the donated funds to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Due to the extremely hot weather on Monday the 25th of January we made the decision to hand out the hampers instead on the day after Australia Day, last Wednesday the 27th of January. This was to avoid people lining up outside of St Mary’s House of Welcome in the heat.

It was a great success and you have made a lot of people very happy with hampers. So, from the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU!

I have also attached a screenshot of the social media post we have added to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Once again thank you for your amazing generosity. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.

Kind regards,

Zelda van Laar

Senior Events Coordinator

Members may recall a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that our guest speaker from December last year, Olympian walker, Jemima Montag had broken the Victorian 10km Walking Record in a time of 43min 45sec. Well last week she slashed that time down to 42min 35.2sec which makes her the 2nd fastest by an Australian Female of all time only behind the great Kerry Saxby who was World Champion when she set a time of 41:57.22 in Seattle 30 years ago. This means it is the fastest time by any women in Australia.


I have today received information about the International Women’s’ Day event.

This year it is different as it is not in person but rather a recorded event which has 2 big advantages. the cost is only $20/person or our club can pay $100.00 for a video file which we can use at one or more events to promote our club and Rotary. The other is rather than being on at a particular night that may or may not suit the club we can show it when we like and on multiple occasions. And of course, have a look at the list of speakers. All very impressive but you can't go past their main keynote speaker in the New Zealand Prime Minister in Jacinda Ardern.


At tomorrow’s meeting, I want to discuss with members the proposal of last week's Guest Speaker Don McQueen for our club to obtain a Rotary Peace Pole for the Haileybury College City Campus.

At today's meeting, Thursday 4th February 2021, we have as our guest speaker Mr. Vijay Iyer who is the Bank Manager of our local branch of the Bendigo Bank to tell us about his bank branch. This meeting will be in person at the Mercure Hotel, North Melbourne at 6.30 pm for a 6.45 pm start.


As I have been completing this report I have just had a call from our President-elect from Nairobi, Kenya. I was relieved earlier today when I finally got a reply from her that she was ok and included some rough videos of the Belo Hospital in Gedo in rural Somalia. I had been quite worried as it had been about 10 days since I have been able to make contact. Only a couple of days ago there were reports of an armed group launching a car bomb on a hotel in Mogadishu killing at least 9 people.

As it turned out Sainab and her son Kahlid were not in Mogadishu but tonight she advised that there attacks where she was living in Gedo as well and as a result, they fled the city with some friends and basically found safety in the country living under the stars. Thank goodness they are now out of Somalia and in the relative safety of Kenya and just checked into a hotel in Nairobi. They have a flight booked back to Melbourne for the 10th February but who knows whether that will eventuate. We can all only hope




Have a Great Rotary Week!